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Stone Soup

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  11,229 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Award-winning artist Jon J Muth retells the favorite tale of a selfish community who is tricked into creating a delicious soup from stones. Set in China in Muth's hauntingly beautiful watercolors.

Three strangers, hungry and tired, pass through a war-torn village. Embittered and suspicious from the war, the people hide their food and close their windows tight. That is, unti
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Scholastic Press
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Of all the books I read my kids Jon J. Muth's Stone Soup is far and away my favourite.

Not only is it a beautiful retelling of a classic tale, it is the finest telling of the tale I have ever seen. Muth's watercolours are exquisite: sparing, richly detailed, perfectly moody and expressive.

And his choice of setting is sublime. Muth sets his version in a small walled village at the base of a mountain in China. Three monks come to the town one morning and start making stone soup, drawing the village
After experiencing Muth's Stone Soup as a read-aloud, kindergarten students had the following conversation:

Student 1: "I noticed, this book didn't win an award."
Student 2: "It should have."
Student 3: "Let's give it an award."

Student carefully cut out his own version of the Caldecott award and taped it to the cover.

Student 4: "Now everyone who reads it will know that it won an award."
In this version of the story travelers convince skeptical town of people into providing the ingredients for a wonderful soup by telling them it is made from stones. While individuals may have only contributed one ingredient, when the soup is complete it is a wonderful combination of many ingredients.

This folk tale has been told from many cultural perspectives, set in a time of despair or famine, yet a wonderful soup is created in each version as ingredients are added one by one. The message shin
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Stone Soup. / Jon Muth. / 2003.

Genre: Fiction - Folktales.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"Three wise monks trick a poor, frightened community into finding happiness by teaching them the magic of generosity" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
generosity, selfishness

Review citation:
"Muth has taken this old tale and transplanted it from its traditional European setting to China. The tricksters are no longer hungry travelers or
“Stone Soup” is a very old folktale with variations and retellings set in countries around the world, in various historical periods, and featuring different characters. Most versions feature hungry strangers who persuade locals to share their resources, and often there is a lesson of cooperation and generosity, even in times of hardship and scarcity.

In my preschool classroom (of 3 to 5 year olds), we spent several weeks investigating a series of illustrated children's books based on this folkta
Michelle Doerr
Stone Soup is a great story to discuss lessons about sharing, friendship, and happiness. I gave this book 5 stars because I like the themes discussed and I think Ruth did a great job using illustrations to help enhance the meaning. This is a folklore book intended for primary readers. It is the story of 3 monks who wandered into an isolated, unfriendly village. Due to past hardships, the villagers were greedy and did not share anything. By making soup with no ingredients to begin with, the contr ...more
Julie Suzanne
By far my favorite version of this timeless tale. We especially loved the water color, the Buddhist spin, and how the author/illustrator? taught us at the end how to study the illustrations in this and consequently any book for deeper meaning by introducing a few common symbols utilized for this piece. We went back and "read" the pictures again afterward. Morgan was delighted to learn that he had already noticed several details that I hadn't (he always does--that eye for visual detail); he learn ...more
The classic folk story about creating something from nothing and learning to give in the process retains its important message even in a new setting. Muth sets his version of the story in a secluded Chinese village. The muted illustrations perfectly convey the idea of a time long ago in a place far away--perhaps not fully real, but real enough to every reader who picks up the book. Muth notes at the end that there are many symbolic elements of Chinese culture throughout his text and illustration ...more
Jennifer Hackett
Traditional Literature: Folktale
Muth, Jon. Stone Soup (2003). The book Stone Soup is a traditional folktale with several different versions, this one set in China. Three monks begin on a journey to find what makes one happy. Along their way they find a village where all villagers work hard, but they do not work with one another. As the monks approach the village, all the villagers go into their houses and close all doors and windows even turning off the lights as the monks knocked. It wasn’t unt
Aliyah Inge-hanif
Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth is a fictional folklore book for ages four through eight. It is about three strangers (monks) who pass through a torn village and suggest that people make a soup out of stones. This trick gets all of the people to come together and make a wonderful soup.

Knowing that this story was not originally a Chinese folklore but also has many adaptions in different cultures, I must say I fairly enjoyed this one. The wonderful watercolor illustrations are very pleasing to the yes.
Muth, Jon J, Stone Soup, Scholastic Press, 2003, folklore, age: 5 – 8, lexile: 480L, rate: 5

This book is about Monks who travel into a village and notice everyone keeps to themselves. To bring everyone together, they decide to make stone soup in the middle of the village, and everyone comes out of their homes and offer items to add to the soup; they end up all eating together and realize that sharing makes them all richer.

I rate this 5. I like the idea of making a soup and how it can bring every
Dorothy Carder
The story first began to develop when the three monks of the plot made their way into a desolate town and began to make stone soup. There was a little girl who was watching them out of curiosity and so they gave her a task. I myself find that giving something for kids to do is a great way for them to feel a part of something, as well as you as the adult being able to concentrate on the more difficult tasks. The little girl in this story then said that the monks would need a larger pot to make th ...more
I enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure that my niece did. She struggled a lot with figuring out why anyone would want to eat soup made with stones, so I'd have to say that the larger point presented in this great story was lost on her. We may try this one again when she's a little older.
Lisa Hartmann
Stone Soup by Jon J Muth. I really enjoy this folklore story! Stone Soup is a nice story and has a great lesson in it. The idea is simple. Three monks traveling stop in a town were people stay in their homes and don't help one another. The monks come up with the plan of stone soup to bring a group of people back together. While making soup with water and three stones, people become curious and then offer to add to the soup to make it taste good. The pictures are more muted and simple. The color ...more
April Poulter
I really enjoyed this book, but I may have been biased because my roommate had just made "stone soup" for our apartment the week before I read it. The main reason why I like this book is because it teaches an important lesson about happiness coming when we open ourselves to others, and give and share. Of course we all have different personalities and needs when it comes to social interaction, but all of us need some social interaction - happiness does not come in isolation for we were not made t ...more
Beautifully illustrated and compelling. This story is joy to read aloud to a group or enjoy one on one. Wonderfully paced and almost haunting to begin; Stone Soup is set in the mountains high above a small village. Three monks arrive at the village to see that is closed off and isolated. The monks decide that this village is in need of a lesson in fellowship and begins by placing a small pot on a fire to make some soup. A curious young girl approached the monks and offers a larger pot from her m ...more
Torin Sawyer
This is the retelling of a classic story, done in a very different way. One interesting thing about this book is that the story takes place a small village in China, which I didn't expect from this book. The book tells a story of two weary travelers who arrive at a town, but the townspeople are unwilling to open up their homes, or share any food with the tired men. Being the clever men they are, the two men decide to try and coax the villagers out of their homes by announcing they will be making ...more
Jordan Hernandez
The first impression of this book is that it is a simple way to look into another cultures old tales. This setting of China could open a unit that dives into the foreign culture. Using the images, the students could be asked to compare and contrast the differences between the Chinese illustrations and what they see in American ones. For ages 6-8 this book uses great imagery to encompass what it means to share. The lesson could also involve some creative cooking as the teacher could ask students ...more
ElliottDietrich Mattison
The best retelling of this classic story that we've seen. Reading the insights on the back page really bring what the author is doing to life.
Read this in the 1980s, so I don't remember much except the basics. I thought it was brilliant. Reminded me of the stories my mother told of times in a small mining town when the miners went on strike. My parents had a garden and women in the neighborhood would come to her and say they had nothing to feed their families. My mom would ask them, What do you have? One would say something like turnips, another carrots, another a soup bone, and so on. She'd tell them to bring them over, and my mom wo ...more
It took me a few years from the time I first read it (probably in 1st grade) to understand that the stone added nothing to the soup. The whole moral is that people tend to be stingy with what they have unless someone else gives first, or at least only asks for something small. The funny thing is, the more these people gave, the more they had to eat. I wish we as a species were better at giving of what we have with no expectation of payment, since if everyone gives, everyone tends to end up with ...more
Deanna Vaughn
Very cute story! I have never heard a Japanese version of this story. The story shows how a small town that has become very unfriendly towards other and each other can learn to work together and make something wonderful. They all participate to create a wonderful dinner and also enjoy the company of each other afterwards. This is all thanks to three very clever monks. This story is great for children because it has such a wonderful message for them to think about. The pictures are lively and int ...more
Molly Toomey
A folklore story about three monks who come into a village where no one trusted each other and they did not share among one another. By setting up a fire and little pot in the middle of the village an starting to make "stone soup" all the villages come out and help add ingredients to the pot. In the end, they have a big feast and all the villagers are laughing and sharing and caring for one another. The message of the story is great and the multicultural aspect will teach students about other ki ...more
Jon J. Muth. Stone Soup (2003). The motif the three round smooth stones and stone soup runs through many cultures. In this version, long ago 3 Buddhist monks are traveling through China. They pass through a war-torn village where the people are very suspicious of them. The monks come to realize there is much sadness in the village where they used to be happiness and kindness. The oldest monk begins to make a stone soup which brings out the interested villagers. They all begin to contribute an it ...more
Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth is a variant of the tale I know best from the Marcia Brown version. I have used Brown's version with plastic food and a kettle to tell Sone Soup countless times in Storytime over the years. So I was curious to see what the Muth version was like. Different, yet similar, and delightful is my verdict.

Three monks, strangers hungry and tired, stop at a war torn walled village. Suspicious from the war and wary of each other, the people hide their food and close windows tight.
Alexandra Welsh
I chose the book Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth, which is a Chinese folklore story. In the beginning of the story, you meet three monks- Hok, Lok, and Siew. They take a journey along a mountain road to try to find out what makes people happy. They come upon a village which has been through tough times and the people aren't trusting of strangers and their fellow neighbors. The people in the village only worked for their own benefit. The monks are not greeted by the people and the people refuse to answ ...more
Lora Carroll
A gentle yet powerful classic that reminds us of the importance of community and the magic of giving. John J Muth's watercolours add a special touch to this version of a the story. I love the way that the little by little a selfish community is transformed before our eyes into one of love and celebration.

Publisher's overview:

Award-winning artist Jon J Muth retells the favorite tale of a selfish community who is tricked into creating a delicious soup from stones. Set in China in Muth's hauntingly
Grade Level: 3-4
Main Characters: Hok, Tok, and Siew
Setting: an oriental village
POV: third person

This story begins with three monks traveling in the mountains pondering. The youngest monk asks the oldest monk, "What makes one happy, Siew". Siew responds by saying, "Let's find out". They make their way to a village that has gone through many hardships, which have made them all un-trusting of strangers, but also each other. No one greets the monks as they go in the village, and they begin t
The story opens with three monks walking along a pathway in the mountains of China. They are discussing cat whiskers, the color of the sun, and giving. The question arises, "What makes one happy?" They discuss the subject for a while. Soon they come upon a village that has met hard times. Famine, floods, and war have made the villagers suspicious of neighbors and untrusting of strangers. The villagers work hard but only for themselves. When the monks arrived no one greeted them at the town gate ...more
Tony Lewis

Title: Stone Soup
Author: Jon J. Muth
Illustrator: Jon J. Muth
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: 2003
ISBN Number: 978-0-439-33909-4

Summary: This the retelling of a fable about three monks who come to a town and discover the people living there are quite wary of strangers and do not open their hearts to the visitors. The town has been through very tough times and the villagers are cold and bitter. the three monks begin to build a fire and put a small kettle on with water in it. A little
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Jon J. Muth is an American comic artist. His works include J. M. DeMatteis' graphic novel Moonshadow, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Wake (along with Michael Zulli, Charles Vess), Mike Cary's Lucifer: Nirvana and Swamp Thing: Roots. Muth has gone on to an award-winning career as a children's book writer and illustrator. He received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his illustration ...more
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